A Controversial New Take On Food Addiction

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IMG_5261_MarkIPhotographed by Mark Iantosca.
It's so easy to rationalize our bad and unhealthy habits. Hit the gym? Surely taking the stairs at work counts. Healthy dinner? But, the pizza delivery guy is my friend. But, as John Blundell, professor at the University of Leeds' Institute of Psychological Sciences, points out, sometimes the excuses we make for ourselves are more extreme — especially when it comes to our relationship with food. The biggest offender? Those who blame their overeating tendencies on a food addiction.

Blundell argues that "the use of the term food addiction is a step towards medicalization and implies that normal human social behavior is pathological." In other words, the perpetuation of this idea leads to a cavalier attitude towards our own responsibilities about our health. Sure, about 3% of people are psychologically diagnosed with binge eating, but when it comes to reaching for an extra handful of sweets, it's on us to exercise self control. Assigning an unhealthy intake of food — sweet or savory — as something we can't control only feeds the nation's obesity epidemic. After all, if we claim we're addicted and unable to resist certain foods, then it's out of our hands, right? We don't have to take responsibility for the problem.

What do you think? Can people become addicted to food? Are we just too happy in our cookie comas to care? Sound off in the comments below. (BBC)